Peer to Peer Magazine

Winter 2016

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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Page 8 of 83

10 PEER TO PEER: THE QUARTERLY MAGAZINE OF ILTA | WINTER 2016 BEST PRACTICES Moving into Management: What You Need To Get from Here to There Moving into Management: What You Need To Get from Here to There Today, most law firms have established leadership in place, leaving less than two percent of open positions per year categorized as manager- or director-level. Law firms typically want experienced managers, but geing trained and promoted from within into a leadership role could require more time and good fortune than many legal technology professionals have. The next generation of legal technologists must be progressive to contribute to the growth of their professional community, but current leaders in law firm support staff express a return-to-fundamentals philosophy for identifying the strengths needed for promotion. As legal tech pros balance the forward vision and the tried-and-true, here are aributes to cultivate that can lead to managerial opportunities. These same qualities can help veteran managers identify who on their staff might be ready for leadership. Be a Mentor Many rising professionals complain that they lack opportunity to gain managerial responsibilities in their current role, but one of the greatest opportunities to demonstrate leadership is to teach others what you know. James Bekier, Director of Litigation Services at BakerHostetler, aests that in his department, "[W]e provide more growth and managerial opportunities for those who have imparted their knowledge to others and thus have the freedom and time for new challenges." The transfer of knowledge does not come easily to all professionals; the most knowledgeable technical subject-maer expert or the most responsive client service professional might struggle to teach others how to do what they do. Professionals such as these yearn for a progression into leadership roles but do not understand why their accolades, high customer satisfaction reviews and demonstrated intelligence have not positioned them for management. "A key to becoming a manager is to become a mentor," says Bekier, who grew into his current director role from the senior project management position for which he was first hired. If you cannot teach others, you cannot delegate; if you cannot delegate, you cannot manage. Hear Others' Voices Adam Lew, Manager of E-Discovery and Litigation Technology at Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP, says one of the keys to success as a manager is to "always keep an open mind and accept input from others." This "best-idea-in-the-room" mentality serves legal technology professionals well, especially as subordinates outgrow them on certain nuances of technical processes and day-to-day client management. Accepting ideas from others and executing on them has positive side effects: A frequent question from mid-career legal technology professionals is, "How can I become a departmental manager at a law firm?" Between 2000 and 2006, dozens of these positions were created and filled each year within the Am Law 200 in e-discovery, knowledge management and litigation and practice support. by Jared Coseglia

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